Allergan Inc. (AGN:US) won a patent-infringement lawsuit that will prevent copies of its Lumigan 0.01% glaucoma treatment from entering the U.S. market until 2027.
Novartis AG (NOVN)’s Sandoz unit, Actavis Plc, Hi-Tech Pharmacal Co. and Lupin Ltd. (LPC) would infringe Allergan’s patents on the medicine, U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider in Tyler, Texas, said in an opinion posted on the court’s website today. The judge also rejected arguments the patents were invalid, and ordered that regulatory approval not be granted until they expire.
Lumigan, which comes in different solution formulas, generated $452.7 million in sales (AGN:US) for the nine months ended Sept. 30 and accounts for about 10 percent of the Irvine, California-based company’s revenue. The solution slows the progression of glaucoma, which can cause blindness.
Allergan jumped as much as 5.8 percent on the news. Shares were up $5.48, or 4.8 percent, to $119.98 at 12:36 p.m. in New York after earlier trading as high as $121.03.
The case involved five patents. Four of them expire in 2025 and the fifth in 2027, according to the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The generic-drug companies argued that the patents were little different than ones covering Lumigan 0.03%. An appeals court last year upheld a patent on that treatment that expires in August. The judge said the newer patents are for a solution that limited red eyes, which caused some patients to stop taking the treatment.
Schneider said it took Allergan more than a year to come up with a formula that would be as effective as Lumigan 0.03% while reducing the red-eye severity. Earlier research indicated that lowering the percentage of bimatoprost, the active ingredient in Lumigan, would have lowered its effectiveness, the judge said.
Bonnie Jacobs, a spokeswoman for Allergan, said the company had no comment. Officials with the generic-drug makers either had no immediate comment or didn’t immediately respond to queries.
Lumigan is Allergan’s second-biggest drug, after Restasis eye drops. Earlier today, Allergan received a new patent on Restasis.
The case is Allergan Inc. v. Sandoz Inc., 11cv441, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Tyler).
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